Owners of Salt Bae's Nusr-Et weigh up their own stake sale

Search for investment could place a $1bn valuation on steakhouse chain

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - DECEMBER 02:  Salt Bae Nusret Gökçe and DJ Khaled attend The Four cast Sean Diddy Combs, Fergie, and Meghan Trainor Host DJ Khaled's Birthday Presented by CÎROC and Fox on December 2, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Jerritt Clark/Getty Images for Ciroc)
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The owners of the Nusr-Et steakhouse, known by its founder chef’s meme Salt Bae, are considering selling a stake in the business, according to people with knowledge of the plans.

Turkish billionaire Ferit Sahenk, and co-founders Nusret Gokce and Mithat Erdem, may sell a combined stake or an individual holding to one or a group of investors, the people said. There has been strong interest from international investors and a financial adviser is assessing potential bids, the sources added.

The valuation of Nusr-Et as a standalone enterprise could reach $1 billion (Dh3.67bn) or more, according to two people familiar with the sale discussions.

Founded in 2010 in Istanbul by Turkish butcher Gokce, Nusr-Et also operates steakhouses and burger joints in New York, Miami, Dubai and on the Greek island of Mykonos. Gokce and Erdem hold a combined 49 per cent in the restaurant chain, while Sahenk’s D.ream Group, or Dogus Restaurants Entertainment & Management, holds the rest.

Dogus Gayrimenkul Yatirim Ortakligi AS, a real estate developer owned by Dogus Holding, surged as much as 19 per cent to 3.51 liras (Dh2.23) in Istanbul, the highest since January 2018.

Dogus struggled to repay foreign-exchange loans after the lira plunged in value. The group restructured around $2.5bn of debt in December and has been selling stakes in hotels and restaurants as part of the renegotiated agreement. It could dispose of investments worth as much as €800 million (Dh3.23bn), Sahenk said in an interview in August.

The company had earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of about $70m this year, according to the people. Representatives for Gokce, Erdem and Dogus Holding all declined to comment.

Dogus Holding was considering spinning off some of his D.ream restaurant business in a potential initial public offering in London, Bloomberg previously reported. D.ream also has the franchise of Japanese restaurant Zuma, Coya and El Paraguas brands.

Dogus Holding sold 17 per cent of D.ream International to Singapore’s state-owned investment firm Temasek and London-based private equity firm Metric Capital Partners for $200m in 2018.